March 8, 2012

A Day In The Life: Security

Welcome to A Day in the Life, where we take you behind the scenes at JetBlue to learn more about the important jobs that work in concert together to run a major airline. This time, we visit with Loretta, a member of our Corporate Security team, who has one of the most interesting jobs at JetBlue.


The Corporate Security team is essentially the “guardian angel” for our company, the ones who ensure that our operation is safe and secure for everyone who works for or flies with JetBlue. Loretta is the Director of Investigations and Security Risk Management and has four managers who report to her.  The Manager of Investigations is tasked with overseeing the investigation of all security related incidences that happen at our airline. These occurrences run the gamut in terms of subject matter, including internal fraud and criminal activity aimed against our crewmembers, customers and the company itself.

The “Blue Watch” Manager oversees the 24×7 security desk located in our Systems Operations Center that has become synonymous with “24/7 exceptional security service” to all crewmembers; the International Security Manager oversees all aspects of security within our Caribbean, Latin and South America Blue Cities, and the Security Training Manager provides course content and instruction for required security training programs to our crewmembers.

There’s no such thing as a typical day for Loretta.  She is an early riser, so it is not uncommon for her to be up before the sun to get a jump start on what is often a very long day. Depending upon circumstances, she might travel throughout our 70-city network to help her team with an ongoing investigation or meet with U.S. Embassy officials at an international location to discuss important security concerns; or run over to our home base of operations at JFK’s T5 to meet with a member of the Corporate Security team concerning an ongoing investigation; or fly to our orientation in Orlando to welcome newly-hired crewmembers onto her team.

Loretta brings her strong leadership, refined investigative skills and considerable experience  to JetBlue. For 25 years prior, her life was not entirely unlike an episode of “Law & Order”, because as the NYPD Major Crimes Captain in Manhattan, she oversaw the Special Victims Unit or “SVU”, the Robbery and Homicide Squads and precinct detective squads in Harlem. Although the job at JetBlue isn’t quite the same, the past six and half years at JetBlue for Loretta have been similar in some ways. “People are people, and the cases I work on are interesting,” she said.  “After so many years of conducting and managing investigations, I still love doing it,” Loretta says. “No two days are alike and no investigation is ever the same.  Sometimes the most innocuous information can turn into a large scale investigation.” In the same vein, what may start out as a seemingly big case might turn out to be nothing, once the information is fully developed.

Theft is a common security issue that Loretta and her team work on. One such case involved the reported theft of about $300,000 of jewelry from a DEN-JFK flight that was shipped via USPS in a concealed container. Working collaboratively, the Corporate Security team along with the United States Postal Inspectors devised a plan to recreate the event. Six weeks after the original theft, a similarly concealed container that now contained a tracking device within it, was placed on the same DEN-JFK flight, and on the same day of the week.  Law enforcement and members of JetBlue Corporate Security were strategically placed to surveil the plane’s arrival and they watched as the mail was offloaded.  They observed the “decoy” item taken off the plane and removed to a van that was located on the ramp nearby. Subsequently, the van was surveilled leaving airport property and a quick joint decision made for law enforcement to stop the vehicle and place the driver under arrest.

Disruptive customers are also a recurring theme in Loretta’s work. She and her team always handle these matters as a priority with the support of our inflight crewmembers always in mind. One example involved an individual who was intoxicated and refused to comply with inflight instructions on a JetBlue flight from JFK-MSY. This person continually used profanity towards the inflight crew and represented himself as a Federal Air Marshal and as a commercial airline pilot (neither was true). Once the flight arrived at the destination, the customer was placed under arrest by the FBI and charged with interference with a flight crew and three counts of false impersonation of a federal officer or employee of U.S. government.  Convicted on all charges after a jury trial, the person was sentenced to five months in federal prison, three years of supervised release and a $20,000 fine.


Loretta and her team also support the company by providing security support for new ventures like performing security assessments at potential new BlueCities, and providing travel safety bulletins to leadership when they travel internationally.

“Our job is to ensure a safe and secure working environment for our crewmembers and business partners as well as a safe travel experience for our customers,” says Loretta. She relays that “reducing risk” is their primary responsibility and they rely on all work groups at JetBlue to serve as the “eyes and ears” for the operation because often times, it’s the frontline crewmember who is working on our planes or at our airports that will notice something unusual and alert her team. “They know when something just doesn’t look or feel right. Much of the information we follow up on comes directly from our crewmembers; some of it comes from our customers and sometimes from law enforcement sources,” Loretta relays. The Corporate Security team is committed to supporting all internal and external JetBlue stakeholders, upholding its “safety” and “integrity” corporate values, ensuring our brand is not tarnished, and assisting crewmembers and customers in any way we can. Loretta and her team work daily to promote teamwork among the various groups to maximize their efforts because collaboration and input are always valuable to an investigation and in fostering a safe and secure culture.

Speaking of values, even though the work Loretta and her team do is serious business, they still know how to have “FUN”. One time at a department dinner, the Corporate Security leadership team were told by their Vice President that they had to “sing for their supper.” “I gave my best rendition of “Rhiannon” as I tried to emulate Stevie Nicks, but I know I won’t be quitting my day job to be a singer,” Loretta joked.

Joking aside, Loretta’s loyalty to JetBlue runs deep. “Speaking for my entire department, there is a real ‘passion’ and commitment in what we do every day in ensuring that JetBlue remains a safe and secure airline in the aviation business and I am privileged to be a part of that team,” Loretta says.

Check out the previous editions of A Day In The Life and meet Chris in InflightMorgan in Social Media, Don in Air Traffic System Control, and Mike in Ground Operations, and stay tuned for the next edition!

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4 Comments on “A Day In The Life: Security”

  • Posted by Tammy Jespersen on March 8, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Way to go Loretta and team members. I’m always amazed with these stories, due to the fact that I can’t believe people do these kinds of things. It blows me away. Especially the behavioral ones on the flights. I guess they think that rules bend everywhere else why not with the airlines. Thank you for keeping us safe in the skies….. what a interesting and fun department to work.

  • Posted by Rachel McCarthy on March 8, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    This is a terrific article! Loretta’s world is a fascinating one and I’ve always been intruiged by what the Corp. Security team must get involved in, wow! Thank you for everything you and the team does to keep us safe and secure. Rachel McCarthy

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